Corruption has become a significant problem in Sri Lanka. According to the TI Corruption Perceptions Index, Sri Lanka stands in the 97th place out of 180. The police administration in many areas of the country is unsatisfactory. Public service has yet to prove its capability in the efficiency to the citizens. As a matter of fact, http://travel.state.gov mentions that even the crime rate is high. People are insecure at home and at the workplace as the violence and criminal activities are relatively high and the security of people is still under threat. Violence against women and children is still very high in the rural areas. Right to information act is being neglected by every government which means that the democratic right of the people to know what is happening around them and make independent choices is not yet legally accepted. People from the rural areas show intolerance in politics & policies. The strength of opposition is becoming weaker. At the same time, the opposition party is boycotting many progressive steps taken by the ruling government. In the post war context, government involves with any kind of Development activity which means risk of corruption is also high.
How to address them?
SDJF believes that good governance is the sign of having free, independent and vigorous informative media, and free and independent media is a sign of having strengthened good governance. At this juncture, SDJF strongly believes that upgrading the skills of the journalists on the role of media in promoting good governance and then, producing a common radio programme linking them from various parts of Sri Lanka will strengthen the process of governance.
As mentioned above, Journalists have their own platform to contribute and the radio programmes can play a watch dog role through which they can hold the responsible local governance accountable and transparent and make sure the process of the local governance is active, efficient and Citizen centric. Most significantly, this Radio programme can create a wider platform for the public participation in the process of good governance while keeping the community informed and leading the citizens to have their own choice in the democratic nation.
In the first step, the training course on media and good governance will be designed in order to provide deep awareness to the journalists on the role of media in promoting good governance – Specially, in sharpening the public perception on governance, promoting good governance by keeping the citizens informed, encouraging public participation, encouraging accountability and transparency in governance. SDJF further believes it’s mandatory to upgrade the skills and the competencies of journalists on basic writing, researching and investigating in the process of safeguarding the democracy and leading the social reform by educating the public. Initial training course will be held for three months.
In the second step, SDJF will produce a weekly radio program on governance through a national/Regional Radio stations. Time duration of the radio programme can be minimum 30 minutes. This radio programme will contain news, authentic investigative reports, Interviews with local government organizations, stories about accountability, transparency, decision making, public participation and service effectiveness. In addition, this radio programme will provide room for public concerns and opinions and provide necessary information to keep the citizens updated. It will also extract governance related news and information from the selected newspapers. This can be a recorded, well edited and scrutinized programme. Radio programme will be produced for one year.